“The goal of a test is to get learning, not a lift,” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, CEO & Managing Director, MECLABS. (Marketing Sherpa, June 9, 2011)
Translated from marketing speak, that means when you test something, such as a landing page, or an offer, you want to get data and information – learn something.
If you get more sales, that’s great. If not, you use what you learned to make something better.
Failure is good
One company tested two landing pages (click link to see them) against their existing page. The responses tanked (down 53% from the original page). They realized that the original page was too copy-heavy – it was slowing people down, and actually making it less likely that they would sign up.
Back to the drawing board
So, they tried a new version (click to see it) – with much less text. This one increased responses by 78%. Aha!
Best practices for landing pages
1. Write a great headline
Don’t shout too much (ME! We’re here, we’ve been in business since the Jurassic era). You don’t want to be annoying (or arrogant), you want to be helpful – and relevant.
2. Be unique and interesting
Explain why you’re different. Perhaps you’re a wedding photographer, but you specialize in exotic weddings (underwater, on ski slopes, or on board yachts).
3. Cut the friction
The test showed that less was more (in this case). Fewer fields, and fewer words. They needed fewer words because readers already had enough information; they didn’t need to read it again.
4. Show value
If you want them to download an ebook (or buy one), show how valuable it is. You can do this by assigning it a price ($29 value), by adding testimonials showing how others benefited from the product, or even just a picture of everything they’ll get (even if it’s virtual).
5. Be trustworthy
This is both social proof (those testimonials again), and reassurance that you respect your readers’ privacy. (Tip: Chris Brogan recently said that he got much better results when he promised privacy, rather than “no spam”).
How to test your landing page
If you’re not sure of the technical stuff, you can do this by creating several landing pages and tracking with Google Web Optimizer (free). Or, you can try unbounce, which helps you create and track landing pages (even if you’re not a geek).